Let’s make this clear: The Lippies’ debut LP, simply titled The Lippies, is pop punk done right. It’s more than just catchy chorus after catchy chorus. It’s aggressive, it’s in-your-face, it’s feminist, AND it’s full of catchy choruses. It’s the kind of album that will make you want to get up and smash something, all while shouting along. The band takes everything that they did on their 2014 debut EP (also titled The Lippies) and doubles down on everything, from the hooks to the important social issues that plague our society, while also expanding and tightening the band’s sound.
Musically, the band takes a lot of cues from first and second generation punk bands, with rhythmic guitars and a steady beat, and a bass that drives the songs by doing more than just following the root note. It’s a small thing, and there are plenty of bands in general that do this, but when it comes to pop punk, it often feels like the bass track is barely distinguishable and is just kind of there because it should be, and The Lippies bring back its importance.
The band doesn’t back down from calling anyone out on their shit: those who condemn sex workers while simultaneously consuming the product (“Fuck the Customer”), men who demonize women for not returning romantic feelings, as well as thinking that they’re owed a sexual relationship simply for being nice (“Friend Zone”), men who abuse the public spaces of others (“Garbage Man”). In short: The Lippies are an MRA’s nightmare, and they’ve made a fantastic soundtrack to go along with those bad dreams.
On the softer side of things, vocalist Tonia Broucek shows off their singer-songwriter sensibilities on the ukulele-led “Basic Boy” and “It Boils.” It might sound a bit gimmicky for a pop punk band to include two songs played solely on a ukulele, but the themes of the tunes and Broucek’s voice carry the same weight as the rest of the album, and it’s less of a gimmick and more another side of the band’s already strong repertoire.
With an incredibly high replay value, The Lippies set the bar high for both themselves, and for modern punk music in general. It may have come out in early March, but the album is already a top contender for the best pop punk album of the year. Perhaps even the best punk album of the year.
5 / 5
RIYL: RVIVR, Tilt, War on Women